By RYAN J. FOLEY – The Associated Press
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A ruling that freed a woman from prison and cast doubt
on "shaken baby syndrome" prosecutions will stand, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has
decided.The decision is a victory for former daycare provider Audrey Edmunds, who
has long maintained her innocence against charges she shook a baby to death in 1995.
Edmunds spent more than 10 years in prison after a jury convicted her of first-
degree reckless homicide in 1996. But she was freed in February after an appeals
court said new research into "shaken baby syndrome" cast doubt on her guilt.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice appealed to the Supreme Court, saying the ruling
would make it virtually impossible for prosecutors to bring charges in shaken baby
The high court voted 5-1 on Monday not to take up the case and let the ruling stand.
The court did not publicly announce the decision but a spokesman confirmed the vote
Prosecutors in the Dane County District Attorney's office now must decide whether to
Her appellate lawyer, Keith Findley of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, said he hoped
prosecutors would drop the charges.
"It's time to let Audrey Edmunds get on with her life," he said.
The appeals court said new research into shaken baby syndrome presents alternate
theories on how 7-month-old Natalie Beard might have suffered fatal injuries while
at Edmunds' in-home day care. It said a jury should hear competing theories and
again decide whether she is guilty.
Edmunds has testified the baby was dropped off at her home in good health but
quickly became fussy. She tried unsuccessfully to console the child and then left
her in a bedroom in a car seat with a propped bottle.
She said she called 911 after finding the baby limp with liquid coming out of her
nose and mouth. The child was pronounced dead hours later.
Prosecutors argue the baby died as a result of violent shaking by Edmunds or shaking
combined with impact that caused a fatal head injury.
Edmunds' lawyers said it is impossible to know how the baby died but it could have
been the result of a seizure, from choking on formula or an infection.
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